The New Year is fast approaching, and many of us are already thinking about how we can make 2017 a much-needed improvement on 2016. Once all the mince pies have been eaten and the wine bottles are empty, we will most likely feel that urge to get ourselves into gear and start the year in a healthier way. Of course, many New Year’s resolutions will be made and broken before January is over, but what if you want to create lasting change next year for all of your family?
Family health and fitness isn’t necessarily about running marathons together or only eating kale for a year, rather it’s about fostering a passion for exercise and the outdoors that both children and adults will feel motivated to continue on their own. Every family is different, so there are many different ways improve your family’s fitness, but here are a few ideas that could work for you.
There’s not much use in waiting until 2017 to get fit when you could start inspiring your family right now. By buying some health and fitness gifts for Christmas, you can make your family members excited about the prospect of a healthier lifestyle. Whether it’s a juicer, a spiralizer, a FitBit or some specialist headphones, Christmas presents are the perfect opportunity to encourage your family to become fitter, but without saying so, of course.
Even without the fancy gadgets that you might have by 2017, you can still start a healthier way of living before the end of the year. Going for a family walk on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day is an excellent way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, as well as each other’s company. Not only will you work up an appetite for dinner, you’ll also gain a sense of enjoyment that will help to foster healthier habits in the future.
If your family has barely heard of the word ‘exercise’, it probably isn’t the best idea to sign them all up to the gym or send them out on a 10km run. This is likely to have the opposite effect and send them all back to the sofa, grumbling about how ridiculous you are. Instead, try encouraging them to take part in physical activities that are fun and quite low impact. For adults, this could be a walk in the park or countryside a few times a week, while for children you can go a bit wild and book them into laser quest or a trampolining class.
This element of fun should also be applied to healthy eating, which is a crucial aspect of fitness. If you restrict your family to salad then they’re likely to rebel and head straight to McDonald’s, so instead encourage them to try making fresh meals from scratch, with plenty of vegetables. Indian, Mexican, and Italian food are all ideal for this, as they have plenty of strong flavours and fresh ingredients, as well as being healthy when cooked a certain way. Try asking your family to take it in turns cooking a new dish every week and see what they come up with.
Build It Up
Once you have laid the foundations for a healthy lifestyle, you can start to build on this by adding a variety of activities for your family to try. Weekend bike rides are an excellent way to enjoy an outdoor activity as a family, while also experiencing nature and getting some fresh air. If your family are into sports, why not take them down to your local tennis courts or football field and play a game? It’s all about making things fun, so try and find something that everyone can enjoy.
Of course, this might be easier said than done, as many of us are much too attached to our television screens and tablets to consider going outside in January. If this is the case with your family, you might need to provide an extra incentive for them to get on board. This could be by using something they already have, such as a FitBit, or by getting to visit somewhere new that they have an interest in. This will be different for everyone, but good choices for slightly sneaky physical activities are museums, shopping centres, bowling alleys, and playgrounds. All of these involve low levels of physical activity and are a good place to start if your family is really reluctant to get out and do something a bit more active. Over time, and as the weather improves, you can build this up into more intense fitness activities such as cycling and sports.
Disclosure: This is a featured post